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Bold predictions for all 32 NFL teams to preview the 2018 season

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What is the X factor for each Super Bowl contender? (2:04)

The NFL Live crew selects its Super Bowl contenders and the X factor for each team to get where they want to be. (2:04)

Ben Roethlisberger winning his first MVP? Dalvin Cook leading the league in rushing? The Rams heading to the Super Bowl?

Our NFL Nation reporters make bold predictions for all 32 teams.

AFC East | AFC North| AFC South | AFC West
NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West


AFC EAST

Buffalo Bills

The Bills' defense will finish among the top 10 in points allowed per game. Although the Bills packaged draft capital to select quarterback Josh Allen, they concentrated much of their spending in free agency on the defensive line. Defensive tackle Star Lotulelei (five years, $50 million) and defensive end Trent Murphy (three years, $22.5 million) are projected starters who should help a defense that finished 29th in rushing yards allowed per game (124.6) and 31st in sacks per opponent pass attempt (4.7 percent) last season. The Bills' defense allowed 22.4 points per game last season, 18th in the NFL. -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins will have a 1,000-yard receiver (Kenny Stills) and a 1,000-yard rusher (Kenyan Drake). Stills had 847 yards on 58 catches last season with QB Jay Cutler, but he should benefit from Jarvis Landry's 112 receptions being spread around the receiver group. Drake led the NFL in rushing after Week 12 (444 yards in the last five weeks of the season). He has the ability for similar production over a 16-game period. The last time the Dolphins had a pair of 1,000-yard playmakers (Landry and Jay Ajayi in 2016), they made it to the playoffs. -- Cameron Wolfe

New England Patriots

Trent Brown will earn Pro Bowl honors at left tackle. One of the biggest questions for the Patriots entering 2018 was who would fill Nate Solder's spot, and Brown not only has seized the role, he has dominated at times. Despite having just two career NFL starts at left tackle -- with his primary work coming on the right side -- he has exhibited some traits that could make him a Pro Bowl-caliber player if he puts them together consistently. -- Mike Reiss

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1:01

Will Jets' supporting cast help Darnold?

Todd McShay is interested to see how Sam Darnold will perform with a team that has recently struggled offensively.

New York Jets

For the third consecutive year, the Jets won't have a 1,000-yard rusher, a 1,000-yard receiver or a double-digit sacker. But they will get a big season out of second-year safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, who will combine for at least eight interceptions. Adams will return one of them for a touchdown, ending the team's five-year streak without a defensive touchdown -- the longest drought in the league. Adams will be their only Pro Bowl player. -- Rich Cimini


AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco will surpass his single-season passing mark of 4,317 yards and reach 30 touchdowns for the first time in his career. Teammates say the drafting of Lamar Jackson has lit a fire under Flacco, who's also healthier than he has been since 2014. All signs point to Flacco delivering a career year. -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals' offense will bounce back in a big way. Of course, everything depends on the play of Andy Dalton, who hasn't been able to re-create the success of 2015. But with a capable left tackle in Cordy Glenn and weapons such as running back Joe Mixon and wide receiver A.J. Green, the offense should climb out of the cellar. If the Bengals can keep Tyler Eifert healthy, they have a shot to be a threat in the red zone again. -- Katherine Terrell

Cleveland Browns

Hue Jackson will coach the Browns for 16 games. As unlikely and illogical as it might seem on paper, Jackson does not seem to be on any kind of leash (short or long) from the people who matter most -- the owners. Jackson won one game in his first two seasons, but Jimmy and Dee Haslam judged that player acquisition led more to that record than coaching. They stand by the decision to bring back Jackson, and they will stand by him through the 2018 season. -- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger will win his first MVP award. Roethlisberger entered camp in better shape and plans to set a tone. He's entering a de facto contract year and desperately wants to get a third Super Bowl win, and his first alongside this offensive line. He's tight with coordinator Randy Fichtner and plans to run a lot of no-huddle, which should result in big yardage totals. He has averaged 14.3 interceptions per season since 2015, so if he gets that number down to single digits -- coupled with another double-digit-win season -- he'll be firmly in the mix and just might win it. -- Jeremy Fowler


AFC SOUTH

Houston Texans

DeAndre Hopkins will end the season as the NFL's most productive wide receiver. In 15 games last season, he had 13 touchdown catches (first in the NFL) and 1,378 receiving yards (fourth). Perhaps most impressive, he did it while playing just seven games with Deshaun Watson. Hopkins said he thinks he and Watson will be the best quarterback-receiver pair in the league this season. -- Sarah Barshop

Indianapolis Colts

The Jaguars are the team to beat in the AFC South, but the Colts will finish second in the division and make a run at one of the wild-card playoff spots. Andrew Luck will win the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year award while having one of the best seasons of his career under first-year head coach Frank Reich, who had a 13-year playing career as a quarterback. -- Mike Wells

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0:44

Keep an eye on Westbrook's potential

Field Yates and Matthew Berry think Dede Westbrook is an interesting name to keep in mind for deeper leagues.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Yannick Ngakoue will lead the league in sacks. The third-year player gets overshadowed by the other studs on the defense, but that'll stop. Ngakoue has 20 career sacks (12 last season), including 10 that have forced fumbles. With a massive chip on his shoulder, he's headed for a big season. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans

Rookie Harold Landry will lead the Titans in sacks and flirt with a double-digit-sack season. Having led the nation with 16.5 sacks as a junior in 2016, Landry is an excellent pass-rusher off the edge. He is working on converting speed to power and adding more pass-rushing moves. Going against Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan in practice will help Landry sharpen his skills. -- Turron Davenport


AFC WEST

Denver Broncos

If Von Miller, first-round pick Bradley Chubb and former first-round pick Shane Ray are all in the lineup for at least 14 games -- Ray is coming off three wrist surgeries in 2017 -- Miller will challenge his single-season best of 18.5 sacks (2012). Miller battled consistent double-teams and, at times, triple-teams last season on the way to 10 sacks. The Broncos didn't create enough pass pressure elsewhere. That shouldn't be an issue this season, and Miller is poised for a huge year. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs will lead the NFL in scoring after finishing sixth last season with Alex Smith as their quarterback. While Smith led the NFL in passer rating and had the best statistical season of his career, the Chiefs will get more big pass plays with the big-armed Patrick Mahomes. -- Adam Teicher

Los Angeles Chargers

Mike Williams will finish with 10 touchdowns. Yes, I understand the Clemson product is the fourth receiver on the depth chart. Keenan Allen remains the No. 1 receiver for the Chargers, and Philip Rivers likes to spread the ball around. However, Williams has been impressive in the red zone in practice, and his wide catch radius gives Rivers a big target. Double-digit touchdown catches is not out of the question if Williams can stay on the field for 16 games in his second season. -- Eric D. Williams

Oakland Raiders

Turns out nine years in the booth and all of that scouting actually made Jon Gruden more than capable of coaching a ragtag group of veteran castoffs, Pro Bowlers and high-risk, high-reward draft picks. And sure, his offense is dink-and-dunk o' plenty with power running and the occasional deep shot, but the players will respond to Gruden's high-energy plan and the Raiders will catch fire late to challenge in a winnable AFC West. -- Paul Gutierrez


NFC EAST

Dallas Cowboys

Ezekiel Elliott will lead the NFL in rushing yards and yards from scrimmage. He led the NFL with 1,631 yards on the ground as a rookie, so winning the rushing title is not too much of a stretch. But considering the holes left by the absences of Jason Witten and Dez Bryant, he will do more in the passing game in 2018. He recorded 58 catches for 632 yards in 25 games in his first two seasons. He could match those totals in 2018. -- Todd Archer

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1:17

Kellerman says all the pressure is on Eli Manning

Max Kellerman says that Eli Manning is under the most pressure compared to other NFL stars.

New York Giants

Saquon Barkley will catch 80 passes. Think David Johnson and Le'Veon Bell. That is the type of impact the rookie running back will have on the Giants' passing game, especially with Eli Manning unable to evade pressure and needing to rely on his safety outlet. Safeties and linebackers can't cover Barkley. -- Jordan Raanan

Philadelphia Eagles

Zach Ertz will supplant Rob Gronkowski as the most productive tight end in football. Ertz matched Gronkowski and Travis Kelce with eight receiving touchdowns during the regular season -- doubling his previous season high -- and wrapped up the season with the go-ahead TD catch in Super Bowl LII. Entering his sixth season, the 27-year-old Ertz has the look of a player poised for a monster year. -- Tim McManus

Washington Redskins

The Redskins' defense will finish in the top half in points and yards allowed. While this might not seem like a great accomplishment, consider it has been 10 years since they've achieved this feat. They were 27th in points and 21st in yards last season. Their front seven will lead the way, with end Jonathan Allen helping set up outside linebacker Preston Smith to record at least 10 sacks. -- John Keim


NFC NORTH

Chicago Bears

Anthony Miller will become the type of game-changing receiver the Bears have needed for years. The rookie from Memphis has earned plaudits throughout camp for his growth on the field. He will have plenty of chances to shine within Matt Nagy's system. -- Nick Friedell

Detroit Lions

The Lions will get off to a bad beginning -- a tough early schedule combined with a lack of pass rush will send Detroit to a 1-4 start. Detroit is better situationally and in its decision-making than it was under Jim Caldwell, but the same problems the Lions had in the past -- suspect offensive line play, no true pass rush -- will make life difficult in the toughest division in the NFL. It leads to a 7-9 season, two games worse than Caldwell's final season with the Lions. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers will win his third NFL MVP. OK, maybe that's not so bold when you consider this: The last time he broke his collarbone (2013), he came back the next season to win his second MVP. Rodgers has a dynamic pass-catching tight end again in Jimmy Graham. With Graham's size and athleticism and the emergence of Davante Adams, plus a hungry Randall Cobb in a contract year, it might all align perfectly for Rodgers. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings

If injuries along the offensive line can be remedied, Minnesota should have no problem giving Dalvin Cook what he needs to lead the league in rushing. The Florida State product is everything a team could hope for as a dynamic, pass-catching three-down rusher. The Vikings' leading candidate for team MVP is also well-placed to contend for Comeback Player of the Year honors. -- Courtney Cronin


NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons

After his three total touchdowns a season ago, Julio Jones will reach double-digit TDs in 2018. Based on how the Falcons have been practicing, there seems to be renewed focus on getting Jones red zone touches. Jones has talked about needing to get in better sync with quarterback Matt Ryan, particularly in scoring situations. Calvin Ridley's arrival and the potential growth of tight end Austin Hooper mean defenses won't always be able to cheat in Jones' direction. That could result in more one-on-one opportunities for arguably the best receiver in the league. -- Vaughn McClure

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0:52

Berry has McCaffrey as 8th-ranked fantasy RB

Matthew Berry breaks down why Christian McCaffrey is going too low in fantasy drafts.

Carolina Panthers

Second-year running back Christian McCaffrey will emerge as the best all-purpose back in the league in Norv Turner's system. He'll get 25 to 30 touches per game (twice what he had a year ago) and surpass 1,000 yards rushing in addition to leading the team in receptions. He'll make the Panthers an explosive offense like they were in 2015, when they led the NFL in scoring. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints

Instead of being remembered as the victim of the "Minneapolis Miracle," Marcus Williams will become known for overcoming his infamous missed tackle on Stefon Diggs. The second-year safety flashed Pro Bowl potential with five interceptions as a rookie, including the playoffs. And the ball-hawking center fielder has been one of the Saints' biggest standouts in training camp (Drew Brees even threw out an Ed Reed comparison after Williams picked him three days in a row). -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chris Godwin will surpass DeSean Jackson for the second-most receiving yards, finishing with 750 -- second only to Mike Evans. Godwin was arguably the most consistent receiver during the offseason and training camp, and he showed strong chemistry with both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston. -- Jenna Laine


NFC WEST

Arizona Cardinals

David Johnson will win MVP. Johnson is returning after missing 15 games last season because of a fractured wrist, and he's back to his 2016 weight and looking more powerful and quicker than he did before last season. That'll lead to him becoming the third player in NFL history with 1,000 receiving and 1,000 rushing yards despite defenses' best efforts to key on him. With that type of season, Johnson will be named the league MVP after dominating week in and week out. -- Josh Weinfuss

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams will win the NFC championship and advance to the Super Bowl. Their offense led the league in scoring last season, averaging 29.9 points per game. But it was their defense that kept them from advancing past the first round of the playoffs. That won't be the case with the addition of Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib and Ndamukong Suh. -- Lindsey Thiry

San Francisco 49ers

DeForest Buckner will reach double digits in sacks and finish in the top five of Defensive Player of the Year voting. Buckner might be the most underappreciated player in the league. According to Pro Football Focus, he led all interior defenders with 19 quarterback hits in 2017. He added 52 quarterback pressures, ranking fifth among interior defenders. The next step is turning that pressure into sacks, something Buckner looks poised to do as the Niners find more ways to get him in one-on-one situations. Buckner could work more at end in a role similar to how Jacksonville used Calais Campbell in 2017. -- Nick Wagoner

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks will have a top-five rushing offense and Chris Carson will lead the way. To be sure, that would constitute a massive jump for a team that finished 23rd and 25th in rushing the past two seasons, but Seattle should benefit from better play up front and a healthier backfield that includes Carson and first-round pick Rashaad Penny. -- Brady Henderson